Steering and engine mounts.

After some time just enjoying the summer, got quite a bit done on Ms. Jenavieve this weekend.

First order of business was to revisit the whole steering shaft/motor mount issue from this past spring when I replaced her header with the Delta 4 into 1 header. I’ve never been happy with the way it turned out and since I had some time, I decided to take my time and try different approaches to get it right.

The problem was that when I installed the header, I could not find that perfect point where the steering shaft didn’t contact one header pipe or another where it passed through. It was hitting pretty hard on the right side at a half turn of the wheel, so I proceeded to make some shims out of large washers (notched to slide on easily) and shim the left side of the engine as suggested. Problem was, in order to get the shaft to stop contacting on the right side pipe, I had to raise the engine so high that the shaft started contacting the pipe to the left at about a quarter turn to the left, while just barely touching the pipe to the right.

Wow, that was hard to explain… but if you’ve done this you know what I’m talking about.

Anyway, at 9 washers (a little over half an inch of shim) I called it as good as it was going to get and that’s the way it’s been the past few months. The engine was way too high for my taste, in fact I had to remove the cam belt guard since it was hitting the bonnet. And finally, this weekend, I got back to it. This time I wasn’t in so much of a hurry (I had the whole header and exhaust issue to deal with back then) and I decided to take my time and explore all my options.

I spent a couple of hours pulling shims out, putting them back in one at a time, taking careful note of how it affected the steering shaft interference. What I finally figured out is that (and this was exactly the opposite of how I thought it worked) “shortening” the steering shaft (by collapsing the upper U-joint) actually gives the shaft less lateral movement. I thought straightening it out and making it longer would make it “smaller” in the turn radius, but that’s apparently not how it works at all. So, I loosened up the lower pinch bolt, slid the shaft to its “shortest” point, and it made a huge difference. I was able to go from the 9 shim washers I had all the way down to 4 (a little less than a quarter inch) and now there is no interference at all (though it’s still awful close). Much, much better.

Having done this, I reinstalled the upper cam belt guard, since it fits right now, and then decided it was time for an oil and filter change, which went as uneventfully as oil changes go.